Laura Benanti to play Alura on Supergirl

Laura Benanti

I am so excited by the news that Kara’s mother Alura will be appearing in a recurring role on Supergirl. Alura wasn’t even on the radar as a character, so it came as a complete surprise when Deadline revealed that Laura Benanti had been cast in the role.

Nashville standout Laura Benanti has been cast in a key recurring role in the CBS pilot Supergirl. She will play Alura Zor-El, the birth mother of Kara (Melissa Benoist). A strong noblewoman, Alura sends Kara to Earth to escape Krypton’s destruction. Her wisdom and guidance echoes across space and time, proving invaluable on Kara’s journey toward becoming Supergirl.

Just how Alura’s wisdom and guidance will “echo across space and time” is delightfully vague. As flashbacks on Krypton? In a hologram?

Among the leaked audition tapes was a brief scene featuring a 12-year-old Kara speaking to her (offscreen) parents just prior to leaving Krypton.

Zor-El: Your pods coordinates are interlocked with Kal-El’s. You will follow him to Earth.

Young Kara: I’m not afraid, father.

Zor-El: You are so like your mother.

Alura: The trip is long, but you will sleep most of the way. And we will be with you in your dreams. You’ll journey to Earth to watch over your baby cousin, Kal-El. Because of Earth’s yellow sun you will have great powers on this planet. You’ll be able to do extraordinary things.

Young Kara: I won’t fail Kal-El, mother.  Or, you.

Alura: I love you, Kara.

Zor-El: You have to go. Now!

Young Kara: I love you.

My favourite telling of Kara’s origin story is from Supergirl #24 (2008) written by Kelley Puckett and edited by Matt Idelson. Puckett’s run on the 2005 Supergirl series has been overshadowed by Sterling Gates’ subsequent run, but his early issues were a lovely soft reboot of the Post-Crisis Kara Zor-El. See below.

The issues written by Sterling Gates would built upon this origin and maintain Alura’s role as a scientist who built Kara’s ship. How refreshing! Alura being the one to build Kara’s ship is so important (Superman: The Animated Series first introduced the idea). Zor-El was later changed from a ranger to an artist, but I prefer him as a ranger because it informs Kara’s core characteristics of being both adventurous and scientifically-minded. Anyway, I much prefer Kara’s parents to be portrayed as loving, competent and understanding, and mostly importantly happy in their relationship with each other and with their daughter.